Diana Mendiola was known for being a prostitute and drug transporter in Colombia until she had an encounter with God and decided to leave her tumultuous life behind. Now she is a church planter, singer, author, evangelist and pastor of Christian Temple Church El Refugio in Capitol Heights, MD. For the past 19 years, Mendiola has dedicated her life to helping serve prostitutes, drug addicts and AIDS patients who yearn to change their lives much like she did.
"Since my encounter with God, I felt a call to help lost souls, I wanted people out in the street to know the great news that yes, they could get out of their condition and that's how our ministry began in 1995," writes Mendiola on her website.
Prior to changing her lifestyle and beginning her ministry, Mendiola's journey was one of hardships and all-time life lows.
"I lived a sad, poor and difficult life that led me to become a prostitute and transport drugs but I grew tired of that life and I was looking for an outlet. Once I found that outlet, I struggled with going back to my old life but found strength knowing that Christ was going to help me and he did," said Mendiola in a YouTube video testimony.
She said her life revolved around lust and a need for sexual satisfaction even though it meant her integrity and self-worth became obsolete.
"I depended so much on a man, on his kiss on his validation. If I didn't have a man, I felt like I wasn't a woman yet, every man that I slept with was unattractive. I used to sin without actually enjoying it and on top of that, they verbally abused me, they would hit me and each time that we were finished, I wanted to die because I always wondered, 'how am I going to live without them?,'" she admitted in another YouTube video testimony.
Desperate to change, she sought help through witch doctors and psychologists thinking her condition would change immediately but it was not until she had a genuine conversion through Christ that her life took a turn. Mendiola says once "God redesigned" her, she had an encounter with her past that made her realize her present and future life in Christ was promising compared to her "low-life."
"There was this one man who would hit me so I could give him money for drugs, they called him Tyson because he killed someone with his own bare fists, I don't know how he didn't kill me, it was God's mercy. He would abuse me and I would tell him, 'hit me but don't leave me,'" said Mendiola. "When I converted I saw that same man during a service at a church I was invited to preach in Colombia. A guy came up to me and told me he was there and I asked him, 'who? I don't know him.' Now the life that I have is a life full of provision, of glory, a life of miracles, and I don't accept anything less than that so I told him, 'go tell him that the person he thinks I am is dead because that was my past.'"
Once she realized her calling, she began missionary work in Central, South and North America founding fourteen churches along the way including rehabilitation centers for alcoholics and drug addicts. Now, her passion to spread the word of God has led her to speak at conferences and preach throughout the world, record several albums and pen a tell-all book about her life, "From Darkness To Light."
"In Christ I found how to love myself, how to take care of my body and how to renounce things that damaged my body, that's how my transformation began," said Mendiola. "When someone is trying to change based on their own efforts, it's so easy to fail, get back up and fail again but when someone seeks God and anchors themselves onto him, it's different because he's the only one that can you help you."